2003 VW Jetta Running Poorly; loud idle, loss of powerq

Tiny
KIDFROST
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 VOLKSWAGEN
I own a 2003 VW Jetta with 1.8L 4 cyl Turbo engine. It has performed great for me until recently. The engine light came on a little while back, but it was running just fine and since I was broke I didn't take it in for service right away. Well now it idles high and very, very loud. It sounds like one of those dumb tricked out rides with the obnoxious mufflers. Also it rattles and hisses when I accelerate and I can feel a loss of power (almost like the turbo isn't working). I know I need to take the car in to be serviced, but with limited funds I am wondering what the problem might be so I can assess the amount of $$ I can expect to drop. I'm also wondering if I can get by for a couple of weeks in the meantime without my car breaking down on me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Monday, November 5th, 2007 AT 3:27 PM

9 Replies

Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
About the check engine light, if you take it to autozone, they will check the codes for free, this will give you a starting point, and probable cost!
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Monday, November 5th, 2007 AT 3:47 PM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
Codes are a big key like merllin says. Take a look around for a vacuum leak, that may be the high idle and hissing. One trick is to use some carb cleaner to help expose a leak by spraying it in the area the hissing sounds sounds like it is coming from. Listen for a change in the idle.

There is no real way to determine what is going to happen regarding a breakdown. Especially not knowing what is going on.
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Monday, November 5th, 2007 AT 5:58 PM
Tiny
KIDFROST
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Merlin and Paul,
Thank you very much for the advice. I will take it to Autozone this week. I have determined that the sounds are coming from under the car which leads me to believe there is something wrong with my exhaust system?
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Tuesday, November 6th, 2007 AT 7:14 AM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
Roaring, or rumbling? Or like rattles?
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Tuesday, November 6th, 2007 AT 4:39 PM
Tiny
KIDFROST
  • MEMBER
Roaring/rumbling when idling and accelerating. Hissing when accelerating. And the latest development: I can smell exhaust in the cabin when idling. It has to be an exhaust leak. I looked under the car and didn't see any obvious damage so I am hoping it just needs a new pipe or exhaust manifold gasket or something. Any advice on the best way to test for a leak in the exhaust? Also I can tell you the sounds are emminating from under the front seat, not the back near the muffler. I am taking it to the dealership where I bought the car, but they can't get me in until late next week some time
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Thursday, November 8th, 2007 AT 10:03 AM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
Pay attention to the converter, and gaskets at pipe connections.
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Thursday, November 8th, 2007 AT 3:38 PM
Tiny
KIDFROST
  • MEMBER
I took my car to the dealership for service on the exhaust leak. They just called me to give me the scoop, so here it is: My catalytic converter is "broken", as they put it, and will need to be replaced as well as my two O'2 sensors. They quoted me $1200 for the job. Does that sound about right? I can't pay for that at the moment, being a grad student who is paying off loans. What about doing the job myself? Would you say it's doable or am I crazy? I don't have much experience working on cars but that's not to say I've never been under the hood.
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Tuesday, November 13th, 2007 AT 1:17 PM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
Go take a look at it, not sure what tools you have.

It's only 4 years old, and probably a bolt on arrangement. The converter is about $600 I think, use a direct fit.

Try to see if the harware separates for you before buying it.
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Wednesday, November 14th, 2007 AT 9:56 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
I guess you have over 50,000 miles? If not it should be on the dealer! Try some of the exhaust shops.I know they can beat that!
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Thursday, November 15th, 2007 AT 1:19 PM

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